Has anyone had experiences good or bad with speaker isolation or isolation in general ?


hi
i have been enjoying buying and listening to hifi for some 35 years now and have seen many items come and go.I have also been interested in the audio cable discussions and i agree that cables do make a difference how much of a difference is a very individual, and a system dependent situation. There has been nothing that has got me so excited and improved the sound of my system that has ever made me want to really share it with fellow audiophiles until i started to try various isolation products.With so much choice from affordable to very expensive i found the hole subject very confusing and i did not know where to start. After trying lots of various products all shapes and sizes with very different results i decided to read reviews which is something i do not usually do to get some advise.I read a review on the Townshend audio seismic podiums they are isolation platforms that go under your speakers .This company is very famous for isolation ideas and have been around some 50 years based here in the UK they also had a factory in the USA back in the 1980s. I contacted Nick at Emporium hifi  and he agreed to install a pair for me so i could have a listen. My speakers are sound-lab dynastats which i use in quite a small room but with the adjustments give a nice sound. After installing the podiums we both sat down with jaws hitting the floor these podium things completely transformed the sound of my system to absolute perfection. After all this time trying various products under my equipment i have now isolated my speakers and the sound quality is exactly what i believe we all are chasing, my sound-labs are now transparent no more bass problems i have just got one big 3D sound stage the dynastats are now very open with deeper much better bass everything is perfect. I now believe isolating your loudspeakers is the first port of call i was so impressed by the Townshend audio seismic products i now sell them as i have never come across anything that has given my system such a great upgrade , the sound is the same as before but now its just so much better its playing deeper bass but tighter much more resolution and no boom , the midrange is so much more human sounding realistic and spacious with the top end so refined and perfect , is anyone using podiums and had the same experiences i would love to hear from you thank you john 
mains
Minimize motion of the speaker. Sometimes this merely takes mass. The great force of woofers can move the entire speaker, and cause distortion.

Minimize the surface area that makes contact with the floor.

I personally am liking IsoAcoustics products right now. They work really well, and add great adjustability.

Best,

E
I have been using Herbie's Audio Lab "Cone/Spike Decoupling Gliders" under the spikes of my Vandersteen Treo CTs.  I got the same effect from them decoupling my speakers from the floor that you are describing with the Podiums under your dynastats.  All of my deep bass is reproduced by stereo 2wq subwoofers which are spiked into the concrete slab under my carpet and padding.  Liberating the Treos from the deep bass really revealed the openness and detail the system is capable of.
Herbie link - http://herbiesaudiolab.net/spkrfeet.htm#cone

Starsound SP101 platforms. You'll be amazed, and you'll never regret the investment. It will make your speakers sound much more focused and organized, guaranteed.
+1 for Herbie's. Great service at reasonable prices.
B
+1 for IsoAcoustics monitor stands. I have also had great success with using 100% clear silicone to fill various hollow steel speaker stands 60-75% full. Start listening when you get to fifty plus percent. Once the bass tightens up and the soundstage opens up you can stop adding extra mass. Always use spikes to drain away unwanted vibrations.
+2 for Herbies  Gliders , get the job DONE for relatively little scratch, what more could you ask ?
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FWIW... this was suggested and I just ordered.  I've heard from many that it is literally one of the best, dirt cheap DIY improvements you can make.  

Testing over the weekend on speakers, amp and CD player.  We will see!

http://www.supplyhouse.com/DiversiTech-MP-2E-EVA-Anti-Vibration-Pad-2-x-2-x-7-8?gclid=CNuN6caJ_9ICFU...
Cool, but it's not isolation. It's damping.
I bought a box of the Supply House pads, and have placed them under all my equipment and speakers. Works pretty well. Stopped records skipping, works better when two are separated by a layer of Sorbothane. 
Geoff
pls explain diff tween the two techniques to rid equipment from vibrations.  Damping vs isolation. Is one better than another for all applications. If no which is better for each, e.g. Speakers, amps, transports

Mains,
I have received the same excellent results that you have reported using Symposium Super Plus platforms under both my speakers and subs.
Kenny
I use Star Sound under my speakers and amps, but Herbies under my rack. So very different for the two. Definitely better in each case, but It's probably system and room [floor?] dependent. 
I use Star Sound under my speakers and amps, but Herbies under my rack. So very different for the two. Definitely better in each case, but It's probably system and room [floor?] dependent. 
  I've always wanted to try Anechoic tile's from a submarine as they are tuned to absorb/ isolate most lower freq, very hard to come by, because they are confidential. But basically they are acoustic rubber with various sized voids that are filled with a semi hard gel. if they can keep a Sub hidden i'm sure they will isolate your audio equipment... oh well fun thoughts anyway.
@kavakat damping involves reducing unwanted vibrations using extra mass or squishy materials to absorb them. Isolation involves separating the component in question from vibrating surfaces. 

Things like platforms with springs or spikes would be isolation, where the foam product you posted or sobothane would be damping. 

Isolation is important for turntables and tube gear. Maybe disc players too, I don't have much experience there, but I'd imagine the same reasons isolation works for turntables would make it effective for any spinning disc.. damping works well with SS components and some say with speakers too, though I prefer mine spiked. I did add dynamat to the inside of my speaker cabs, though, and that helped clean up the bass. That would be considered damping.
I tried fancy isolation devices under my TAD Ref1, and the differences were not great. With a massive speaker (think TAD, Magico), the effects of isolation devices are minimized. A well-engineered speaker does not need this kind of tweak in order to sound its best.

Hi mains,

I have found significant improvements by adding isolation to my last two pairs of speakers.  Specifically, on a lark, I put Finite Elemente Pagode Master Reference stands under my Avalon Eidolons (with spikes coupling the speakers to the stands to give enough breathing room for the woofer port), and found significant - and unexpected - improvements in detail resolution, reduced distortion, expansiveness of images within the soundstage, and tightening of the midbass down.  I am now using Tidal Contriva Diacera SEs, which require the use of isolation footers - I replaced the default footers with Stillpoint Ultra 5's, and again was very impressed with the benefits of the upgrade.

I have used Townsend's isolation products in the past, and was generally happy with them - I still have a Seismic Sink Stand in storage with which I should do something.  However, for component (as opposed to speaker) isolation, I found other products to provide superior performance (particularly lab grade isolation tables).
Toddverone

thanks for the explanation. 
Isolation generally refers to mass-on-spring techniques but can also be magnetic levitation, filament suspensions, roller bearing assemblies, negative stiffness, I.e., any technique that attempts to decouple the component from the room structure and the seismic I.e., low frequency vibrations that would otherwise be transferred to the component. Since there are six, count em, directions of motion for seismic vibrations, including three rotational directions, cleverness of design of the isolating system has its rewards. Even a thick granite slab has some benefit for isolation inasmuch as its inherent stiffness resists rotational forces. The Townshend Seismic Sink was one of the very first audiophile isolation devices, the Big Bang as it were was the Vibraplane Stand circa 1996 and Shannon Dickson’s landmark article in Stereophile magazine 1996 on the dodgy subject of vibration isolation, "Bad Vibes."
geoffkait/passionforaudio
hi
i mention this company because in the UK they are easy to audition and are the best i have tried , stillpoints, nordost clearlight audio and symposium are other ideas i have tried but they did not do enough in my system to warrant buying them and the prices were very high , buying products blind from the USA is something i have thought about doing but as everything is so system dependent its to risky also we have to pay import duty and taxes, BFly audio are also being highly praised in the UK they are from Germany but there design includes sorbathane which i have had not very good results with, i did try the pro base two under my cd player which was very good but it changed the mid bass to much in my system i felt a loss of resolution so i returned back to importer.
I previously owned a pair of Marten Coltrane Alto speakers which came with a stainless steel stand with integrated Black Diamond carbon cones & BD carbon cups. That combination was effective.

My current Magico S5 Mk2’s have outriggers and standard factory stainless spikes & cups, however Magico now offer optional ’S Pods’ which have integrated cones with a constrained layer design using a copper substrate & stainless spike which threads through the cone, thus maintaining Magico’s philosophy of coupling the speaker to the floor. That’s why Stillpoints have had mixed results on Magico speakers as Stillpoints as they’re designed to de-couple the isolated component from the floor.
SIMPLE, if energy goes down a spike it can go up a spike .
READ Herbies blog on what his gliders do , he knows what he is doing .
It's never SIMPLE in this hobby..
its never simple but great fun especially when you find the golden nugget that improves your system even more than you could imagine , i find cables and isolation a very interesting and necessary components, we leave the designing to the designers the results to the reviewers and then theirs the dealers, DIY is a great area to try and save money but in the long run its probably better to leave it to the professionals but which product or idea do you drop your money on , for mains cables i use jps labs for signal cables clearer audio and townshend audio from the UK and isolation i have found my golden nugget in townshend audio they have been designing 50 years they do not believe in aftermarket power cables but agree signal cables are very important as is correct isolation i use there DCT isolda i believe they were the first to use cyro treatment which has been further improved with the f1 fractal cable it makes very interesting reading when you visit there website but then so does every other manufacturer , the most important thing i believe is home auditions and maybe stick with the companies thats been around for decades they must be doing something right, i also like all the furutech products so electrical contact points is another big area for discussion this is looking like i need to start another discussion     
Schubert's pronouncement violates the idea that spikes are mechanical diodes---a one-way street for vibrations. Once one has seen the truth---that spikes provide not isolation but rather coupling, he is ready for real isolation. Watch Max Townshends video for a demonstration of effective decoupling.
Spike was mechanical in Newton’s time which is still where most engineers are .
 Nothing is simple, except the Truth !



....
i completely agree that spikes no matter how well made are definitely not the way to get the best sound from your loudspeakers, one of the main room problems is too much bass energy , so you are advised to spend your money on room treatment , its now proven by the Max townshend that seismic podium speaker isolation is a huge break threw in treating this age old problem down to 3hz , after isolating the loudspeaker in my small room i do not fill the need for any room treatment but if someone out there believes it can still help then as an audiophile i would be interested, but the sound i am now getting from my sound-lab dynastats is simply mind blowing i have never been so happy but i will always carry the need to take my system to higher levels , i have just today ordered 3 seismic platforms for cdp and digital amps i will report back for those who are interested  
@mains before laying out for the seismic platforms you owe it to yourself to investigate a superior solution, an active isolation base such as those from Herzan. Obviously rather expensive but if you are really committed to addressing low frequency vibration these cannot be beat and my TS-150 has had a transformative effect on my turntable

I also found installing Grand Prix Audio Apex footers (a ball based system) on all my stands and upgrading the balls to Si Nitride very beneficial (the turntable is on its own wall shelf, all of the other equipment is on Monaco stands on these Apex footers)
hi 
wow it sounds like you got some very serious racks and isolation footers Grand prix audio is very highly respected in the UK some say the very best , i now some very lucky audiophiles that use the carbon fibre shelves as well i believe the system he has is the silverstone or something like that it over 20k but he can afford it and that was hes choice , i will look into the platforms you suggest thank you if they are based in Europe its not to bad but in the USA the import duty and taxes kill it unless theres some good discount involved thanks for the reply and advise 
Four years ago I Installed a set of Track Audio Speaker Spikes on the Apogee Centaur speakers (Circa 1991)  ...  Wonderful results... Set of 8 for $119 US.

They penetrated the wall-to wall carpet to the wood floor... 

Quote from review...
"The Track Audio spikes brought a sense of shape, power and energy to the music, a propulsive quality that kept things moving forward, full of purpose and intent...Just think of all the pleasure your speakers have given you. Isn’t it time you pampered them (and yourself) just a little?"
– Roy Gregory, The Audio Beat
http://http//www.theaudiobeat.com/equipment/track_audio_spike_kits.htm

http://http//www.trackaudio.co.uk/floor/floor.html

If I had unlimited funds, I’d put everything on platforms such as the Minus K or Newport microscope tables, or folkfreaks Herzan. The closest a poor slob can get for relative peanuts is with a set of roller bearings and Geoff’s springs. The middle ground is where the Townshend Seismic Pods appear to have no competition, even from higher $ offerings from makers of somewhat high-priced devices claiming isolation, but in reality producing coupling below about 10Hz. The Herbie isolators are more in the nature of Sorbothane or Navcom---rubber pads, with a not-terribly low effective range. The rubber is actually reactive in the low-teen frequencies, leading to the common complaints of soft, spongy bass when isolating with rubber products.

Audiophile recording engineer Barry Diament uses roller bearings under all his recording and monitoring gear, even his Magneplanar MG3.7's! He recommends air bearings in addition to roller bearings, but is concerned his Maggies would be too easily knocked over with them in place. That's where the Townshend platform comes in---it is made in sizes commonly found in speaker enclosures, and can be secured to them for worry-free use. The Pods are available separately, and can be bolted onto the bottom of Sound Anchor speaker stands. I plan on doing exactly that to the SA stands my Eminent Technology LFT-8b speakers are bolted onto. That will create a stable tripod footing, and isolation to around 3Hz. Good enough for me! Folkfreak as well, apparently, for he has Townshend Seismik platforms under his very nice speakers.

My expirience has lead me to Stillpoints Ultra 5 under my very heavy Rockport Hyperion speakers, as well as the rest of my system.
I beleave that the vibrations in the speakers must be dealt with and one way to do that is to form the vibrationenergy into another form eg heat.
On top of the Hyperion i have a woodbox wich contains 14 cambers where i have 4 kinds of diffrent quartz sand and some lead pellets. The diffrent sand isent mixed so its very "liquid" and cannot be compressed. The idear was,that when the sand is set in motion by the vibrations in the speakercabinet, the sand makes friktion and thereby heat and the vibration energy is transformed into heat.
It is a very simple box to build and works very very well, although the aesthetic can be discussed.
I tried to make small versions of the boxes and placed them on my tube gear, this dampend the sound som much that the life was taken out of the music so some ballance is needes, when daming. Ebonywood blocks have proven very musicall.
Another importaint tweak for me was to have all the quipment and all cabels removed from the floor to the wall, in order to brake the direct pfysical contact between the vibretions in the floor and the equipment. My floor containt of a concretplate of ca 11 tons which is isolatet and somehow floating by styropor insulation to the ground and the walls.
Happy lisining.
hi thastum/bdp24
i went for the cardas golden cubes over the Ebonywood blocks and now regret it as they over damped my system , very interesting reading from bdp24 i read also about barry diament and hes isolation choices for hes big maggies somewhere i read he was trying symposium roller bearings when i went to buy the same ones maybe lots of people read the same because they were constantly out of stock and back ordered , im glad i didnt purchase because the podiums have completely done the job with even better results than i thought possible barry diaments remastered recordings in 1990 of bob marley albums are considered the most musical but now maybe the japan shm cd are slightly better and very nice in the mini lp style ,i have seen barry diaments system pictured on hes website it looks incredible , did you say he is using the podiums now under hes big speakers i know they are quite new to the market , the speaker bars were first , then adjustable speaker bars now we have the seismic podiums, i have thought isolating sensitive equipment was important but placing my speakers on the podiums was a complete game changer for me i hope every ones isolation choices made the same huge improvement as mine did its so great as an audiophile when a really special product arrives that hasn't got the huge 100k plus prices , i have never come across such am upgrade as correct speaker isolation im now waiting on the seismic platforms for my electronics fingers crossed they raise the bar even further.


Question: how unstable are some of these things making your speakers? We have a playroom in our basement and kids have to walk right past my right speaker to get to the playroom. I'd love to experiment with these things, but I can't risk a child bumping into or leaning on the speaker and knocking it over. It would crush my gear rack..
@toddverrone how unstable? It depends what your speakers weigh. Mine weigh nearly 300lb so it's going to take some force to move them even though they freely wobble a couple of cm from side to side on the spring base. Actually as they're no longer spiked but instead are fully supported across the entire base I suspect it would take more force to knock them over the when they were on spikes. Anyway if your kids cannot knock your spiked speakers over I'd suspect they're unlikely to be able to knock over ones on a seismic podium
It’s really a center of gravity issue. A very heavy subwoofer with a relatively low center of gravity would be more stable on a springy type stand or feet than tall speakers that weigh the same but with higher center of gravity, all things being equal. Employing a wide arrangement of the springs by placing them under a board the dimensions of which are much greater than the footprint of the speaker goes a long way to bolster lateral support and might be the only way to do it sometimes.
Alas, I can't really get much more width than how wide my speakers already are.. again because of the need to keep space for the playroom entrance. Right now my speakers are spiked through carpet into a concrete slab...

Anyone have any idea if springs and/or roller bearings would be an improvement over spikes on a concrete slab?
toddverrone, it's my professional opinion that coupling using spikes, etc would be best on a concrete slab unless there is an extreme source of outside vibration such as heavy road traffic.
I was, for many years, a Field Analyst and multi-plain balance specialist for The Westinghouse Corp. The same principals apply, weather it pertains to high rpm machinery such as turbines or large rotating machinery such as scrubber fans or to audio performance. Frequencies and Cycles are directly related and impact their connective apparatus and structures the same. Aside from out of balance, the major cause of failure or disruption of rotating machinery or any of it's coupled apparatus or connective structure, are resonant frequencies and their harmonics; looseness or wear anywhere in the chain and outside interference. All the same applies with audio and the solutions also the same. Dampening adds mass and can reduce vibration by eliminating the problem of resonance. If there is looseness anywhere in the system including a flimsy cabinet, shaky floors or loose parts it becomes a problem causing vibration and serves to amplify outside sources of vibration. It has been my experience that, when everything else has been addressed, if the floors are very solid and the cabinet/rack and stands are solid - coupling using spikes, etc is very affective. If the floor, cabinets and other structures are not solid or there are outside sources of vibration, then isolation devices would probably work best. Instead of blindly spending allot of money experimenting with what worked in someone else's system, evaluate your own system and structures.
Good luck,
Jim
 
hi
i would seriously without hesitation go for the podiums , with concrete floor or suspended wooden floor the benefits are shown by Max Townshend on you tube ,i have experienced the benefits on suspended wooden floor which is very solid without any bounce , as for knocking them off i use sound-lab dynastats which are maybe 6ft tall i have no worry's at all if anything they slightly move if pushed so the chances off toppling seem much less obvious than when i had them on the floor if pushed when flat on the floor they would tip, on the podiums they wobble slightly and i fill to make them topple would take a real serious push as they are basically on suspension i hope this makes sense , please fill free to ask further if i have not been clear bottom line im saying more stable on podiums check the look of the design depending on the size of your speakers footprint you could go for a bigger size but i really do not believe you need to , on concrete i have felt my speakers were not that stable any slight knock they would move on podiums they suspension takes the knock and speakers return to original position i love mine the performance is incredible and the sound -labs are definitely safe i have no worries regarding being knocked over i have 7 children from 7 years to 25 years one of my speakers is near a door way the speaker may get knocked now and again but has never fallen hope this helps.
Gee, no kidding?

The good thing about concrete slabs is they are very very stiff so they resist, but not totally eliminate, the rotational forces that result from Earth crust motion, traffic, subways, etc. The concrete slabs do not do so well in attenuating low frequency vertical forces since the entire building is being moved by the motion of the Earth's crust, etc. At the same time I have found very hard cones improve the sound and presumably the isolation effectiveness when employed under both the component on the isolation device and below the isolation device. 

Barry Diament bolted each of his Maggie 3.7’s onto the middle of a 2’ x 2’ plank of plywood, and placed a trio of roller bearings under the plank in an equilateral triangle. Symposium Acoustics sells their Roller Block Jr. in sets of three, each of the RB’s having two 1-7/8" blocks of black-anodized aluminum into each of which is carved a "bowl". A single ball bearing separates the two blocks, one blocks bowl facing up, the other down. Barry prefers to use only one bowl, with the ball in it being in direct contact with whatever is placed on top of the bearing. Because the ball would depress into the plywood base from the weight of the speaker, Barry put a square of hard tile in three locations on the bottom of the base, one for each ball to be in contact with. He does the same with the bearings under his electronics, but puts the tile directly on the bottom of each components casework. He argues that a ball bearing moving in a single cup has a lower resonant frequency than does the ball in two cups, thereby providing isolation to a lower frequency.

The Symposium Acoustics Roller Block is nicely machined out of Alcoa aluminum, the ball bearing free to move in the bottom of each bowl. When receiving mechanical vibration, the ball "wants" to move horizontally, but since the surface it is on (the bowl in the block) is not flat, in order to move it must "climb" up the side of the bowl. That movement is microscopic, and is what provides isolation; the object under the roller bearing is vibrating, and those vibrations try to move wherever they are most easily absorbed and transferred on. The ball bearings, rather than transmitting vibration through them and into whatever sits upon them (which is what spikes and cones do), instead moves microscopically, using up the energy it receives in attempting to climb up the side of the bowl. The larger the bowl, the lower the bearings resonant frequency, and the lower the frequency to which will the bearing provide isolation.

I don’t know the diameter of the bowl in the RB Jr., but it is not as large as it could be, or as Diament recommends. There is a machinist in Canada making his own version of a roller bearing, in fact two of them. The original consists of a pair of 1-1/2" aluminum blocks with bowls, pretty much an exact copy of the Symposium RB, but without the black-anodizing. Due to demand from myself and others, he has created a second version, one with a larger diameter, shallower bowl in a single block, the shallower bowl thereby, as I said, providing isolation to a lower frequency. This block is machined from a harder grade of aluminum, and polished to a smoother surface texture. The company is named Ingress Engineering, and it has a website with all the details and ordering information. The highest performance roller bearing around, and cheaper than the Symposium Roller Block!

The roller bearing provides isolation in all planes save vertical, hence the need for another form of isolation in addition to it, such as an air bearing or a spring. The Townshend Seismic Pod appears to provide vertical isolation, so may be the only device necessary. Gotta get me some! 

Symposium Acoustics has some nice explanations on their website and they will answer your emails very thoroughly as well:

http://www.symposiumusa.com/technology.shtml

After I tried the rubber/foam pads above on a whim I looked for an affordable longterm, better looking solution that would give the same positive results. I am trying out the Fat Padz soon.
I understand the physics.. I’m just loathe to spend a chunk of money on something that may only have almost imperceptible benefits in my application. Hence my questions about improvements on concrete slab floors..

This seems hard to DIY..

I'm trying to get away from rubber/foam in my system..
hi toddveronne
i have tried soft squidgy feet from various manufacturers under electronics and have always found they soften the dynamics with over blown bass , i then tried the opposite with cardas golden cubes they made the sound to dead and distant i didn't like them at all, if budget is tight clearlight audio RDC cones and bases worked great for me , i didnt hear no negatives just an increase in musical details , i purchased the 20x 1.2 cones with the bases for around 30gbp  i use them under everything now , but i would definitely start with your loudspeakers first , they are designed to go under speakers as well the results under the speakers are not comparable to podiums but for the money they were the best cones i found, theres a company in the uk called music works they are selling a cone made out of peek or something like that rumor is they are very effective but i have had no first hand experience and the rdc cones are a little cheaper and i have heard the results  which are quite good